Importance of Erik Erikson's Theory: Argumentative Essay

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Erik Erikson was a psychoanalyst from America. He was born on June 15, 1902, in Frankfurt, Germany. He died on May 12, 1994. He is best known for the stages where he describes every step from you are born and what is happening in life. He had a big impact on psychology because of his theories on identity crisis and child development. Before he became interested in psychology he was a teacher and an artist. In the 1920’s he met a psychoanalyst from Australia, Anna Freud. This was the beginning of a new chapter of his life that he had never seen before. She was the woman who inspired him to get into the psychology world. My goal with this paper is to introduce you to the psychoanalysis, of Erik Erikson, and discuss his stages of development in life.

When Erik Erikson came to America he did not have an academic degree. Not only did he not have a degree, but the language was also one of the more difficult factors for him. English was not his first language so it took him so time to adapt. Besides from Erikson’s more difficult beginning in America, there is no developmental theory that is more known than his 8 stages of development. In the book, “Ideas and identities: The life work of Erik Erikson, Wallerstein say, “No single psychoanalyst has had a more profound impact on our twentieth-century culture and world than him”(p.1). This is a great example of how many people saw Erik Erikson as a very dedicated and clever psychoanalyst. Besides Erikson’s great success in the psychoanalysis world, there were some people that were not convinced about all of his work. David Rapaport said Erikson belonged in the ego psychology world.

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Erik Eriksson’s first step into psychology started in Vienna at the psychoanalytic institute. Because of his interest in child psychoanalysis, it became his choice of degree. After his studies in Vienna, he chose to immigrate to the United States in 1933. He started as a teacher at Harvard Medical School and later on, he chose to start a Yale University. After his years at Harvard Medical School and at Yale University he became more interested in child development. He also started to become more interested in how to influence society. At the beginning of his theories, he started to study American Indian kids in order to get information for his new theories. He started his career concentrating on young people and further on this led to his development of the “identity crises”. In 1950 he published his first book, “Childhood and Society”. Very quickly the book became a well-known classic all over the world. Further on Erikson wrote multiple books that explained the development in life and in society.

I believe that Erikson’s theory about the developments that you go through from when you are born until your late adulthood is relatively accurate. Most people will be able to relate to the different stages that they remember from their childhood. Trust vs. mistrust is the first stage and it takes place in the first 12 months from the baby is born. It is a great example of when a newborn baby needs to feel the trust of the parent or caregiver. This is an important step in order to make the baby feel safe. Stage 2 is Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt. This stage takes place from age 1-3 years old. In this stage, he makes a great point that this is when the children start finding out that they can control their own actions. Stage 3 is called Initiative vs. Guilt and it takes place from age 3-6. In this stage, he explains how the children are being more mature and get self-confidence. After this, you enter the Industry vs. Inferiority. This is from age 6-12 and is the last stage before they enter their teenage years. They start to compare them to each other. I think Erikson is spot on with this stage. An example is when a child starts playing soccer at that age. Many of the children will start comparing themselves to each other and see how their level is compared to their friends. This is something that is easy to see when you watch young children playing soccer in elementary school. Often you see them having a discussion of who is best and who should be on which team. The next stage in Erikson’s psychosocial development is Identity vs. Role Confusion. This stage is a great example of the age where you start to wonder what you want to do in life and who you are. It is also the age where you start to face your own problems and you have to figure out a way to solve them too. After entering your teenage years Erikson says the next stage is young adulthood also called Intimacy vs. Isolation. This is the stage, where some things can be discussed. He states that if she or he is not fully developed in the other stages you might be struggling in this stage. This can be discussed since it is not always you are behind at this age even if you did not develop as he states in the other stages. You can still be at the same level as other people even if you or they are different. Middle adulthood also called Generativity vs. Stagnation is the stage where many people start contributing to the younger generation. It can be discussed if everyone contributes to the younger generation when they reach this stage. It is common that people in this age group to become parents and by that way, they contribute to the younger generation by raising their kids. The last stage in Erikson’s development theory is Integrity vs. Despair also called late adulthood. This is when most people start thinking about their life and how they lived it. Are they satisfied or do they regret some of their decisions during their lifetime? Erikson states that people that have feelings of regret might be depressed in this stage. It can be discussed if everyone at this stage that feels like they did not have a great life are depressed. Maybe they think that they are going to enjoy the rest of their days and get the best out of it. They could decide not to look at the past, but instead focus in the present or in the future where they can make the right choices.

There is no doubt that Erik Erikson had some great points with each of the stages he talks about in the psychosocial development from when you are born. Of course, this is not 100 percent sure that you will go through those stages at the exact age. Every person is different and his or her needs and development are different. It is a great template to see how a person’s life goes and how they interact with each other.

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Importance of Erik Erikson’s Theory: Argumentative Essay. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 22, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/importance-of-erik-eriksons-theory-argumentative-essay/
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